While bonuses are always a big factor when choosing a new credit card, you should also think about the long-term ability of the card to earn and redeem points. There are many things you should consider when determining the value of a card. Credit card promotions and rewards are always changing too, so stay in the know by being up to date on the best credit cards for points that 2018 has to offer.
Best Credit Cards for Travel Points
The Platinum Card from American Express is a top pick among avid travelers looking for the best credit cards for travel points. This card has a 60,000-point welcome bonus and so many perks and benefits it is a must-have if you travel a lot. Don’t let the $550 annual fee dissuade you, either. That money is easily recouped through all the perks this card offers.
To start with, this card comes with a $200 airline credit to cover incidentals, such as in-flight purchases, change fees and the ever-important bag fees. It also has a $200 annual Uber credit to help you get home from the airport.
Perhaps best of all, it comes with free airport lounge access. But that’s not just any lounge. You’ll be able to get into American Express’s super-swanky Centurion Lounges, plus Delta lounges if you’re flying on Delta. And if those aren’t available, you can always rely on the handy Priority Pass Select membership that comes with the card. It gives you access to over 1,000 lounges around the world.
The Platinum card also includes a rebate for either Global Entry or TSA PreCheck and gives you complimentary Hilton Honors and SPG Gold status. You’re sure to be traveling in luxury with this card.
The Amex Platinum card earns 5x points on eligible airline and hotel purchases and 1x point per dollar for everything else. And those credit card reward points are flexible. The Membership Rewards program allows you to transfer points to 20 airlines and hotel partners, which can potentially further increase the value of those points.
A More Affordable Alternative
For a lot less money ($95 a year) you could also get the excellent Citi ThankYou Premier card. It comes with a great intro bonus of 50,000 points and provides versatility when it comes to redemptions, making it one of the best credit cards for points.
Earning with this card is great for those on the move as you can get three points per dollar spent on travel. This includes things like airfare and hotels, but also ridesharing, public transportation, tolls and even gas. You’ll also get double points for dining out and entertainment.
You can use your points to book travel directly through Citi’s airline and hotel partners, or using the Citi travel portal.
Best Credit Cards for Airline Miles
The British Airways Visa Signature is one of my favorite airline cards for domestic air travel.
Earn up to 100,000 Avios: earn 50,000 bonus Avios after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening. Plus earn an additional 50,000 bonus Avios after you spend $20,000 on your purchases within your first year of account opening.
Even if you don’t spend more than $3,000 on this card, the initial bonus of 30,000 Avios is enough to snag a domestic business class award ticket on American or even an off-peak Aer Lingus flight to Europe. Last year I booked a ticket to Ireland on Aer Lingus for just 20,000 Avios! Not to mention, if you were to spend $30,000 in a year you could also receive a travel together ticket for a companion.
Another Option for a Companion Pass
If British Airways isn’t your thing, the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature is also a great choice for domestic travel. It offers 30,000 bonus miles after spending $1,000. That’s enough for a domestic roundtrip, including Alaska. You’ll also get a free checked bag for you and up to six companions on any Alaska or Virgin America flight.
The best part of this card, though, is the companion pass. The first year you have the card, you’ll be able to take a companion with you on one round-trip flight for just the cost of taxes and fees. Every year after that, you can bring a friend or family member along with you for just $100 plus taxes and fees. That benefit alone could easily save you hundreds of dollars a year!
Best Business Credit Cards for Points
The Business Gold Card from American Express Open is among my top picks for the best business credit cards for points not only because of its bonus, but also because of its great earning potential.
Earn up to $500 back in the form of statement credits by purchasing qualifying services with FedEx using your American Express® Business Gold Card within the first 3 months of Card membership.Limited time Offer ends 11/06/2019.
This card allows members to earn 4x points on one of five categories of their choosing that includes airfare, advertising, gas, shipping or computer needs.
Get 25% points back after you use points for all or part of an eligible flight booked with Amex Travel, up to 250,000 points back per calendar year
This card is also part of the Membership Rewards program, which has 20 airline and hotel partners. When redeeming for airfare through Amex Travel, you can increase the value of each point to 1.54 cents.
Get 2% Back on All Purchases
The Capital One Spark Business credit card is a good choice if you are interested in a more straightforward approach to earning and redeeming. These cards come in both miles-earning and a cashback versions. With either card, you can redeem the points you earn for statement credits.
READ MORE: The Best 2 Percent Cashback Credit Cards
This means that you’ll get the same 2 percent cash back or two miles per point no matter what you buy. In either case, you’ll essentially be getting two cents back for every dollar you spend.
Best Credit Card for Gas Points
The PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature card may be one you haven’t heard of before, but if you are serious about gas rewards, it is worth checking out. Its gas-earning potential alone makes it one of the best credit cards for points.
This card boasts 5X points on gas. It’s like saving 5 percent on all of your gas purchases. This card also earns triple points on groceries. If you spend $500 per month on gas and $1,000 per month on groceries, you would earn 5,500 points. That would be 66,000 points for the year on your gas and groceries alone. If you redeem for gift cards, that’s worth $660.
Best Credit Cards for Hotel Points
The Marriott Rewards Premier card is one of the best credit cards for points due to its huge welcome bonus of 75,000 points and a free night annually at a category 1-5 property. You’ll also be able to raise your elite status to Silver within Marriott’s loyalty program.
Having Silver status will give you more perks and can make your earning easier and your points more valuable. Since the merger between Marriott and Starwood Preferred Guest hotels, they are now the world’s largest lodging company and also boast the strongest loyalty program within the industry.
A New Card From Hilton
The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card is a new release this year and is rivaling the competition with its intro bonus of 1250,000 points.
This is one of the best credit cards for points not only because of the big bonus and ability to earn rewards, but also because of the incentives it offers. That includes a valuable credit for eligible purchases made at Hilton properties .
This card also boosts you to Diamond status within the Hilton loyalty program. And you can earn a free weekend night each year upon account renewal.
What Are You Waiting For?
Now that you’ve read the list and perused the best credit cards for points, it’s time to get in the game. Start applying so you can start earning. That’s why you’re here, right?
I didn’t choose the cards above just for their big welcome-bonuses, though those are important. They were also chosen for their flexibility when it comes to redemption options as well as other benefits that add overall value to the cards (like lounge access and travel credits).
What’s most important, though, is how you will use your credit card. Whether you use different cards for different purchases or you like to concentrate your spending one on card, my final bit of advice is to avoid paying interest at all costs. Carrying a balance and paying interest will quickly negate any value you might get from your rewards.